It is often difficult to conduct a survey without directly affecting or compromising the issue one wishes to explore. Incognito “Mystery Shopping”[1] interviews are used to overcome this problem. The service and responsiveness provided in a supermarket, petrol station, or by telephone call centres (customer service, complaints, technical support etc), are examples of when mystery shopping is used

Results from mystery shopping surveys are often used as part of a quality improvement programme, and usually identify a series of (often low cost) initiatives that customers/callers would find desirable and that can be fairly easily implemented.

To ensure they are measuring valid “real life” experiences, interviewers must not announce their real purpose and must be entirely unknown to the team/staff they contact.

[1] The term “Mystery Shopping” is widely used even when the topic being researched has nothing to do with shopping or purchases. The important word is “mystery”, in that all fieldwork is conducted anonymously and incognito.



[1] The term “Mystery Shopping” is widely used even when the topic being researched has nothing to do with shopping or purchases. The important word is “mystery”, in that all fieldwork is conducted anonymously and incognito.